Every year a new group of munchkins enters a school eager to figure out what this big building holds in place. Some day I'd love to be the first teacher they meet and spend their year with. But for now, I'll settle as the second. I'll settle as the first grade teacher who perks their interest into one of the most challenging years of their school lives. I will be the hero in their stories when they talk about who helped them learn how to read and who helped them with their math.
So lets start with how I've viewed my school years. First of all, lets go way back to the days when I was the eager child coming into school. I had the best teachers. I can't begin to express how amazing they are. When you reflect back on your school days, you should be able to remember all of your teachers good or bad and every one of mine has a positive memory. When I enrolled in Lyndon State College as an undergrad in the Education program, I vowed to be the teacher students remember. In many ways, I suppose I am now.
At the end of August, I welcome my new babies into the classroom. They're eager, shy, confused, and lacking every bit of confidence in their abilities. First grade is a huge leap from Kindergarten and Mrs. Hutchins doesn't let us play at centers. Truth is, I do, but not anything like Kindergarten. The kiddos learn quickly that my expectations are high and that I believe in respect and responsibility for all. I have one of those blasted behavior charts that NO ONE wants to speak of.
This year, I welcome 12 beautiful kiddos into my room. They were hyper, crazy (in good ways), unsure of themselves, and probably the loudest group I've ever had. The first two weeks, I went home crying. The first two weeks, I had no idea what I would do. I didn't want the behavior chart because I'd read articles about how it could harm kids. However, I did. I put the chart out. Do you know what happened? The behaviors slimmed down. MAJORLY.
So lets get back to butterfly land. We're only on week six of school, but I can't even begin to tell you about the progress my children are making. When the students came in they were the newly hatched egg of a monarch and they were exploring. Now here we are in week six and they're hungry for instruction and learning. They want to read and devour everything they can. I have never had a group so into reading. They just want more and more.
In the next few months they'll start to eat more and more and they'll get ready to go into a chrysalis. I imagine we'll be in the winter months by then and they'll really start making their transformations. In the winter months, the students start really working on their reading, writing, and math. the students really work together and they are at the prime of their learning.
In the months of April, May, and June... the students are now officially butterflies. They've made their transformation. They've learned what they need to learn. They work hard together. They are ready to take venture into a new classroom with a new teacher and although I'm not ready to send them off, they are ready to go.
So, as your year begins teachers lets remember this... a student's year is just like the cycle of the monarch. They start small and then grow into beautiful butterflies by the end of the school year. You can do it. They all grow in their own pace.